This is the tenth of multiple posts covering all of the ideas generated at the Somerville by Design: East Somerville Design Charrette that was held September 30 – October 2, 2013. We have numbered all of the images so that it is easier to reference them when providing feedback.
Feedback should be provided using the comments section below to facilitate discussion among the entire community of East Somerville for each idea presented. For any further questions, please contact the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development at 617-625-6600.
Back in 2010, MassDOT partnered with the City of Somerville to resurface and re-stripe Washington Street from New Washington Street to the Somerville/Boston City line (0.35 miles). The project also reconstructed the sidewalks, adjusted municipally owned castings, and installed new traffic signals and signing. A primary objective of the project was to improve accessibility with new wheelchair ramps at roadway intersections and other necessary locations.
Here are some before and after shots of Washington Street:
Despite these upgrades from the pre-2010 condition, East Somerville residents attending the SomervillebyDesign meetings voiced concern over the current configuration of Washington Street and generally felt the street was not ‘pedestrian friendly’ even though it is still used regularly.
Identification of the Inner Belt and Brickbottm neighborhoods as Transformational Areas in the SomerVision Comprehensive Plan and the forthcoming arrival of the Green Line Station at Brickbottom will demand rethinking of the functionality of Washington Street from a Regional Arterial dominated by automobiles to a more Multi-Modal Urban Avenue or Commercial Street that is capable of handling various users for diverse purposes. More importantly, both public and private investment in InnerBelt, Brickbottom, and the Green Line extension will enhance the ‘quality-of-place’ in this area of Somerville. Priorities will need to be reoriented toward the people living and working in this place rather than only traveling through this space.
Resident feedback has focused on the fact that Washington Street is too wide in multiple places, especially at the Franklin Street intersection. Currently this crossing point is a desire line for pedestrians between East Somerville and the existing shops at Cobble Hill. Once the new mixed-use project replaces the Cobble Hill strip shops, the issue will be even more apparent due to increased pedestrian and vehicular activity.
Concept 24 is a quick illustration highlighting some of the excess roadway space existing along Washington Street today. That space can be put to better uses. Further widening of the sidewalks around the Franklin St. intersection, while maintaining still a generous bike lane could be carried out while still accommodating the volume of automobiles that travel on Washington today.
Concept 25 and 26 are both explorations into narrowing the roadway of Washington Street by installing various bicycle facilities.
Concept 27 features some of the same interventions but in a different design. The large setback of properties south of the existing Washington Street right-of-way could be used to transform Washington Street into an avenue that incorporates widened sidewalks, bike lanes, and landscaping in a central median. Bike lanes hug the left of each single travel lane (one in each direction).
Be sure to check out all of the East Somerville idea posts: